I wanted to alert you to an amendment to SB1224 http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/BillInfo/Default.aspx?BillNumber=SB1224
Which has provisions for High Gravity Beer to be produced in Tennessee. However it does indeed divide the state into 3 areas (East, Middle and West) allowing only 1 high alcohol production place per area. With that things get a bit fuzzy for every brewery in the state. I urge you to contact your legislators http://www.capitol.tn.gov/legislators/
to ask for clarification and their stance on SB1224.
If this passes the beer scene in the state will change, but is it for the good or bad? Seems like it creates an unfair advantage
Quote from a Nashville AttorneyThe bill is bad. No need to go over every negative point (like the fact that this is a “Pilot Program” that is supposed to provide feedback to the legislature. Yet the bill doesn’t say what the legislature is supposed to do with the feedback or why the feedback is needed. This, I suspect is just a guise to pass the monopolistic bill… but I digress).
The bad is easily pointed out, but what about the possible good. First, Alcoholic beverages as defined by statute still includes every alcoholic beverage that is not “patent medicine or beer” (beer being defined as beverage less than 5% abw). A “manufacturer’s or distiller’s” license still allows licensees to make alcoholic beverages. As high alcohol beer is not excluded from the definition of alcoholic beverages, a “manufacturer’s or distiller’s license” should still allow brewers to make high alcohol beer. The ABC could take the position that it will not give any more manufacturer’s licenses to breweries because of the new law defining high alcohol beer. However, the forms to be filled out to obtain a manufacturer’s license do not ask what is being produced.
Second, Ive heard that the bill is being pushed by a large craft brewer who hopes to open a $100+ million dollar facility in E. TN. If so, allow the law to be passed and have $100 million invested in our state. Then oppose the bill after the brewery begins construction. It is much harder to get a law repealed than passed. However, this is a law that you could get wide public support for. Hell, every brewery in the state save three would support its repeal. Also, the supposed rationale behind the bill, “a pilot program” sets itself up to be repealed in total or licenses being made available to every brewery in the state. There should be no middle ground for a pilot program to last in perpetuity. Also, there may be no need to oppose if I am correct on my first point.
There are numerous points to attack the bill if you wish to contact your senators. (1) why does TN need a pilot program when X number of breweries in the nation/world already produce high alcohol beer. If TN legislature needs feedback, they can look back on hundreds of years of brewing history for all the feedback they want. No need for a pilot program when high alcohol beer has been produced for generations. (2) The law makes current TN brewers less competitive. Currently a brewery could open in Bowling Green, make high alcohol beer and export it to TN. However, of the X number of breweries in TN only 3 could produce high alcohol beer. This puts all of those breweries at a competitive disadvantage. (3) When has prohibition ever worked …